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The Value of Nature and the Nature of Value

Gretchen Daily

The world's ecosystems are capital assests. If properly managed, they yield a flow of vital services, including the production of goods (such as seafood and timber), life support processes (such as pollination and water purification), and life-fulfilling conditions (such as beauty and serenity). Moreover, ecosystems have value in terms of conservation options (such as genetic diversity for future use). Unfortunately, relative to other forms of capital, ecosystems are poorly understood, scarcely monitored, and (in many cases) undergoing rapid degradation and depletion.

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